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Giuseppe Verdi was born Oct. 10, 1813. (Photo provided)

Music Director Riccardo Muti opens the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s season with a free community concert in Cicero’s historic Chodl Auditorium at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. Tickets will be required. The concert officially begins the CSO’s celebration of Verdi’s bicentennial with a number of works by the Italian composer. Soprano Barbara Frittoli and bass-baritone Luca Dall’Amico are the soloists for two excerpts from Verdi’s "La forza del destino."

Verdi’s “Va, pensiero” from "Nabucco" – the anthem of the historic Italian unification movement – will be performed by a community chorus comprised of members of the Morton East High School Choir, men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and other amateur musicians from across the Chicago area. The program also includes the Overture from Verdi’s "Nabucco" and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.

The concert is the CSO’s first appearance in Cicero. Chodl Auditorium was built in 1925, in the Beaux-Arts style to function as both a theater and gymnasium for what was then called Morton High School. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and is one of the largest noncommercial, proscenium-style theaters in the Chicago area. Morton East High School is at 2423 S. Austin Ave.

Find tickets
The concert is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. They are available now through the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at 312-294-3000 or 800‑223‑7114; online at; or in-person at the Symphony Center Box Office, 220 S. Michigan Ave.

Streaming to Verdi
In addition to the community concert, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s celebration of Verdi’s bicentennial includes an array of concerts and community activities featuring Maestro Muti and the CSO and Chorus.

The celebration culminates in a sold-out Verdi 200th Birthday Spectacular, which will be streamed live, as well as shown on the new state-of-the-art LED screen at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in Chicago, where it will be carried live. The one-night only performance of Verdi’s Requiem will feature Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Symphony Center, performing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. The Requiem performance will be offered live and on demand worldwide via free live video webcast. Online, the Requiem performance can be viewed live and on demand at and

The tradition of opening the season with a free community concert began with the start of Maestro Muti’s tenure as music director in 2010, when the free CSO concert in Millennium Park drew an audience of more than 25,000 to welcome him to Chicago. In 2011, Muti and the CSO performed at the Apostolic Church of God on the South Side, for an overflow audience of nearly 5,000. A return to Millennium Park in 2012 for Orff’s "Carmina Burana" captivated an audience of more then 7,000 despite pouring rain throughout the performance.

The Cicero concert is offered as part of the CSOA’s Citizen Musician Initiative, which includes a number of youth, community and education programs that use and promote the power of music to contribute to culture, communities and the lives of others.

To learn more about the famed conductor, who was born in Naples, Italy, visit

Recordings by the CSO have won 62 Grammys, more than any other artist or ensemble.

Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO. The appearance of the music director is made possible in part by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation.